By Amanda Chatel, From YourTango
My aunt was the first person I had heard of who did online dating; you know, back in the day when it was still scary stuff and something only the “desperate” would do. She was also the first, last, and only person I ever knew who tried her hand at the dating personals in the newspaper, too. These two facts about my aunt always disturbed me, and I think, because of it, I’ve never seen online dating as anything but an absolute plague on the community, and something to forever avoid.
I have been on two dating sites in my life. Once, for a couple months for a work-related story; and another time, because my best friend begged me to join. That latter site happened to be OKCupid. His whole reason for me joining was so I could endorse him with a good review (I’m not sure if they still even do that, it’s been so long!), so I figured I had nothing to lose, because I wasn’t looking for anything to gain. I was just simply being forced into something so he could look better to all the hot gay men on OKCupid in New York City. I also thought that if we were both on there, commiserating about how awful a place it was, he’d erase his profile and move on to a place where harassment was monitored better.
I took one evening after work to put up my profile, pick out the best photos of myself that I have that actually didn’t include a beer bottle in my mouth or a scowl on my face, then wrote my endorsement for him. Afterward, I sat on the couch and waited for about 20 minutes to see if anyone looked at my profile or sent me a message. When no one did, I shrugged and went out instead.
When I got home I checked my profile. I was really excited for some reason! I was venturing into a world I had only heard of and it was strange and wonderful and … OMG, did that guy just send me a message asking me if I “swallow?” I was appalled. I had heard the horror stories, but less than two hours into my OKCupid experiment, my blowjob techniques were being questioned and I felt gross. I felt the same way I do when a commenter gets way too personal or tells me to kill myself over something controversial I’ve written. It’s like it doesn’t hurt you, per se, because that person means nothing to you, but it sort of shakes you that this is how people in the world behave. I’d question if they were raised by wolves, but a child raised by wolves would at least have manners and respect.
I noticed I had a couple more messages, but decided I’d spare myself before bed. Those messages weren’t going anywhere.
I didn’t check it again until later the next day, and saw 18 messages. A couple were from the, um, “gentleman,” who questioned whether or not I swallowed, with some lovely commentary on how I’m a prude, among other things and delightful expletives, while all strung together with misspelled words and holes where punctuation should have been. Along with him there was a message from a guy telling me I was ugly and my nose was big. Not exactly what you want to hear from a stranger, but oh well! I was more concerned with the fact that he had time out of his day to legit troll me, as opposed to find love, as I assumed was his reason for being there in the first place. There were a couple nice messages along the lines of, “You look like a cool girl. Tell me about yourself,” but I didn’t respond. It wasn’t that I was totally against the idea; I did, after all, sign up for the site, although my intentions for doing so were completely unrelated to getting a date.
Read more about this online dating experience at YourTango.com